Don't believe everything you hear about taxes. Your friendly, neighborhood Internal Revenue Service has recently identified and debunked six common myths about tax filing.
- Every Tax Refund is Delayed – According to the IRS, 90% of tax refunds are issued in less than 21 days. Choosing to e-file and receive your refund by direct deposit is the safest and fastest way to get your refund. If your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) for 2017 was $66,000 or less, you can e-file for free using IRS Free File.
The IRS started processing the first tax returns on January 29, so people are already getting their refunds. If you are claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), the IRS by law may not issue your refund before mid-February. If your return has added complexities, it may also take the IRS longer to process it.
Due to the spate of data hacks over the past few years, the IRS and its tax filing partners are conducting more stringent security reviews to protect you against tax identity theft and refund fraud, which may further delay some refunds.
- Delayed Refunds will be Delivered on February 15 – The IRS predicts that refunds for returns that claimed the EITC or ACTC will be available in bank accounts from February 27 at the earliest – provided no other complications with the returns exist and those taxpayers selected the direct deposit option.
- Ordering a Tax Transcript Will Reveal your Refund Date – Apparently, a rumor going around states that you can find out when you will get your tax refund by ordering a tax return transcript. Not true. The IRS emphasizes that the information on your transcript does not necessarily represent how much your refund will be or when you will receive it.
Your tax return transcript can help you prove your past income and tax filing status when you apply for a mortgage, student loan or small business loan, but no "secret" way of learning your refund date exists. For that, the IRS recommends you use its not-so-secret "Where's My Refund?" tool.
- Talking to a Real Person Will Give you a More Accurate Refund Date – Tax professionals and IRS telephone assistors don't have any inside information when it comes to your tax refund date. Again, the "Where's My Refund?" tool on the official IRS website as well as the IRS2Go mobile app are the best ways to track the status of your refund. If you call the IRS or your tax preparer, they will give you the exact same refund date as the online tool.
The IRS updates the tool with the status of tax refunds once a day, usually overnight, so no matter how many times you refresh the page in an hour, you are likely to get the same answer. If the IRS has an issue with your return and you need to call them, the refund tool will let you know.
- The Most Convenient Way to Answer your Tax Questions is to Phone the IRS – The IRS website contains several easy-to-use self-service tools that can provide answers to your tax questions quickly. In fact, you may spend longer waiting to speak to a live phone operator than it would take you to search https://www.irs.gov/. The website provides specialized tools for individuals, businesses, and tax professionals, including your eligibility for tax benefits and information about free tax preparation help.
- The IRS will Contact you about your Tax Refund – The IRS doesn't ask for personal or financial information over social media, telephone, text messages, or email. If you get a call or an email claiming to be from the IRS, it's likely a scam.
IRS.gov and the IRS2Go mobile app provide valuable information to help you file your tax return. Unfortunately, there is also an abundance of false "tips and tricks" being shared on the Internet and over social media. If you have questions or need help with your return, go directly to the official channels or consult a qualified tax professional. Filing taxes is complicated enough without falling for a quick fix that ends up costing you more time and money.
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